Terry Palmer’s letter is timely for me, printed the day after my return from a charity bike ride in Palestine.
Terry states that Jews think we are anti-Semitic then argues, without evidence, that they are right.
It is becoming common for political arguments to be confused with racism, and the suspension of Ken Livingstone for suggesting that Hitler was at one stage Zionist, was unjustified. This is still a matter of debate and right or wrong, suggesting it is not necessarily a sign of racism.
However, my recent experience may shed some light on why Judaism is disliked in the modern world.
I have ridden down Palestinian streets where Palestinians are not allowed to go.
I have seen Palestinian houses storing water because Israelis allow them water on only a few days a week, while in the illegal Israeli settlements the trees grow thick and green.
I have seen open streams where the Palestinians’ water is cynically returned to them from the illegal settlements in the form of sewage.
I have seen Israeli soldiers stopping people and deliberately delaying their progress to work.
I have seen an Israeli settler standing casually at a bus stop with his wife and their shopping, with a machine gun over his shoulder.
I have been addressed by a passing Jew and asked what the motif on my T-shirt stood for. When I replied “Medical aid for Palestinians” he said “Then good day sir! We don’t like Palestinians!” (Though he seemed to like their country).
I have visited a refugee camp where a youth worker showed me his bullet injury and a gas mortar which had been fired into the recreation area. All the time three soldiers with binoculars watched us from a tower and as we departed two shots were heard, which, apparently is commonplace.
Worst of all, I have stood in tears among charred children’s belongings in the burned-out ruins of a Palestinian house where a teacher, her husband and her baby were burned to death in a random and pointless attack by settlers.
So Mr Palmer, I agree it is a mystery why over past years Jews have been subjected to racism, as have most minority groups living among an indigenous society. However, while ever the above situation prevails in this modern world, it is easy to see why the less enlightened among us wrongly hold a dislike of the Jewish race (if they do) rather than focusing on the military regime which prevails in Palestine.
It is time that the media, all right-minded people, and Jews especially, had more to say about the Israeli occupation of Palestine.